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Labour Campaign for Trans Rights launches to challenge transphobic rhetoric within party

Nick Duffy February 11, 2020
Labour party members walk the parade during Pride In London on July 7, 2018

Labour party members walk the parade during Pride In London on July 7, 2018 (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Pride In London)

A grassroots campaign for trans rights has launched inside the Labour Party, in response to concerns about a growing anti-trans movement within the party.

Launching this week, the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights warned that the party has “failed to act as transphobia has gained ground” within Labour, despite the party’s official support for trans equality and gender recognition reforms.

Labour MPs urged to pledge support for trans equality.

The group has published ten pledges that MPs and members are urged to sign in order to “rid the Labour Party of transphobia and to stand up for trans people”.

They include accepting “that trans women are women, trans men are men, and non-binary people are non-binary”, and that “there is no material conflict between trans rights and women’s rights”.

The pledges also call on Labour members to “oppose transphobic motions which run contrary to our own party equalities policy” – after Tottenham’s Constituency Labour Party passed a controversial motion praising anti-trans lobbying group Woman’s Place UK and backing “legitimate concerns” about gender recognition reform.

Within just a day of its launch, the campaign has attracted support from Labour members, councillors and MPs across the country, with more than a thousand people signing up to the group’s pledges.

Leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey said: “Please sign to show your support for the trans and non-binary community, for whom the Labour Party should always be a safe space.”

Deputy leadership frontrunner Angela Rayner said: “Please read and sign to show your support to our trans and non-binary community🌈 Our solidarity is long overdue – The Labour Party should always be an open and safe space for all.”

Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, tweeted: “This sparks joy. Sign up below to support!”

Labour MP Nadia Whittome backed the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights

Labour MP Nadia Whittome backed the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights (Photo: UK Parliament)East Hull MP Karl Turner said: “Proud to have added my name to these pledges to show my support to our trans and non-binary community. The Labour Party should always be an inclusive environment for every one.”

Party ‘has failed to act’ against transphobes.

Writing for Tribune, the group’s co-founder Torr Robinson slammed the party’s lack of action against people within the party who have made transphobic comments.

Robinson said: “We need to organise to remove transphobes and transphobia throughout the party.

“The NEC must be pressured to act against transphobic individuals and incidents, just as it does in other cases of discrimination. Support for organisations like Woman’s Place, which hate us for being trans, can no longer be considered consistent with the values of socialism and liberation.

“We should strive not only to change the bureaucracy, but to have trans members and allies in every CLP winning the fight for trans rights, and ready to combat lies like the notion that women’s rights and trans rights are in opposition, or that there is any alignment between transphobia and socialism.

“We should work to develop education for the rank-and-file which spreads awareness and affinity towards our movement, and which could make our party a place that is inclusive and supportive, rather than dangerous, for trans people.”

More: Angela Rayner, Labour, Labour Campaign for Trans Rights, Rebecca long Bailey, Transgender, Woman's Place UK

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